What you need to know:
- Denied the 10km women’s only record in September over distance technicality, Agnes on a mission in Lille.
World Cross Country Championships bronze medallist Agnes Jebet is a woman on a mission.
“I’m still young and I know that my future is bright. I have nothing to worry about,” she simply said ahead of her trip to France for the Lille 10km road race on Sunday.
She intents to better her personal best time that stands at 30 minutes 27 seconds in Herzogenaurach, Germany in April, as she reveals her hand.
“I have a bronze medal in the World Cross Country Championships and I want to upgrade to either a silver medal or gold next year. I will be running on Sunday where I expect to win the race and run a personal best time,” said Jebet.
What Jebet, who flew out for Lille on Tuesday, was not revealing, is that she will be going for the 10km world record.
The world record (women’s only) stands at 30.01 minutes and is held by the late Agnes Tirop.
Jebet is extra motivated. On September 10th she run 29.24 minutes at the Brasov Running Festival in Romania. This was a 10km world record time but was not ratified as the distance was found to be less by 25 metres.
This will no doubt be part of her tune up ahead of the Kenya trials for the World Cross Country Championships. The world event will be held in Belgrade, Serbia on March 30.
The 22-year-old Jebet has been showing early season good form.
She won the Kapsokwony and Bomet AK Cross Country Championships weekend meets on November 21 and November 4 respectively with ease and believes that if she continues with the same tactics, she will make the Kenya team to next year’s World Cross Country championships.
“Winning the last two weekend meets is also a motivation to me and I want to press on and go for glory and as I head to Lille, I believe something good is coming,” added Jebet.
Winning against the odds has been part of Jebet’s character building.
Life was tough for her when she was growing up.
As a young girl she used to help her mother brew changaa to put food on their table and pay school fees.
“Life was so hard while I was young. We often went without a meal and that is why my mother would brew the local drink for sale so that we could get something to eat. With time, I also learned how to prepare the stuff and I perfected the art though I knew it was wrong to do that,” said Jebet.
Interestingly, it is her mother who encouraged her to try out athletics.
Jebet say that when her career started taking shape, transportation to various competitions was a challenge and she was forced to sell the brew once again so that she could buy shoes and afford bus fare to race venues.
“I would get Sh200 and use the cash for fare to nearby competitions where ran like my life depended on it so that I could finish in a podium position a get a prize that could afford me food and school fees.”
To earn extra money, Jebet would also go to the forest and help transport charcoal for sale where they would be paid Sh15 per sack.
She remembers taking part in a 5,000m race while in Standard Seven and feinting while leading. She said she had not eaten that day.
That is how she met athletics coach Ruth Bundotich, who attended to her when she had collapsed on the ground.
Bundotich went on to train her in 2017 before she joined the Ikaika Sports Management who helped her build a permanent home and even paid school fees for her other siblings.
“Ikaika Athletics Management has indeed changed my life and my athletics career is now stable.
“I’m glad because we live a decent life and my mother, who was also an athlete, has been my source of inspiration. I am so happy because life changed for the better,” she added.
She wants things to be even better on the running arena.